Bah Ram Ewe

12 May

Well, as interesting days go, these last two have been no exception.

Yesterday I was at West View (which, to follow current Outreach trends, is in the middle of nowhere) to do the BioFuels programs for two 7th grade classes. The teacher whose class I went to was out that day; apparently she had surgery several weeks ago and has been recovering for a while. It wasn’t too much of a problem, just kind of threw me off a little bit to have a substitute there. I was worried about how the program would go, not having done it in several months. I spent a good portion of the night before and yesterday morning reviewing all the notes and the program outline, just to make sure I didn’t leave anything out. This was also the first time I’d ever done it by myself. It’s not a big deal for me to go and do Outreach programs on my own, but BioFuels is kind of intense. There are a lot of things to set up, and it just takes a long time to get everything put out the way it needs to be. And because there are 5 different stations for the kids to rotate through, it’s a lot to keep an eye on. You really need two sets of eyes to watch out for everything, especially if the teacher isn’t really involved in what’s going on!

It ended up not being too bad, though. I got there a little late, because it took a little longer than expected to find the school. That seems to be the trend in my life lately. I get really nervous about finding all these places, because you turn off the highway and then you’re driving on these tiny little streets through the country, next to farms and railroad tracks, and it just all looks like something out of Deliverance. And Lord help you if you should run out of gas around there – you’d never find anywhere to buy it! It’s all just a little too rural for me; I’m sure it’s gorgeous and peaceful, but I need a little more happening in my life than that. Anyway, BioFuels went pretty well yesterday. It was for 7th grade classes, who were a little rowdy, but still pretty into what we were doing. You just never know how middle schoolers are going to react to what you’re doing!

When I got back to the Museum, I had to gather up all the dissection supplies and make sure all that was together. Luckily, all the sheep hearts we had ordered last week came in, so we didn’t need to sweat that out anymore! We have three dissection programs coming up soon, so we were a little worried about running out of hearts before the new shipment came in. Not to worry, though! So anyway, I spent most of yesterday and last night trying to figure out how to dissect the hearts. I haven’t dissected anything since like the 9th grade, so I was really, really nervous about this one! And the teacher was coming back today, so that also added to my stress level a little bit. I’ve really learned, though, that if you pretend like you know what you’re doing, most people will believe you. So even though I really had about as much idea about how to do it as the students did, it went off pretty well. I think most of them ended up mutilating their hearts anyway, but at least they got to see what was inside for a bit before that happened. Of course, there was a wide range of reactions to the dissection. Some were really into it – the ones you can tell will probably be doctors or engineers someday. Others were just glad they weren’t sitting in class listening to lecture. Some were disgusted. The rest just didn’t care, I think. Whatever they thought, I’m glad it ended up being far from a disaster. It really could have gone badly, but it didn’t.

I left the school feeling really disgusting, and as though I just reeked of preservative chemicals. I felt like I needed to take three or four showers just to get the lingering smell off of me. Heather and I also had to figure out the best way to keep the hearts stored until the next program. They all came in a big vacuum-sealed bag, and I had some left over. The website where we ordered them from, and Brad in customer service who we called to double-check with, both said we could just wrap them up really well and store them in a cooler in a dry spot. Hopefully this is correct, because I’m the next person fooling with those hearts, and I do not want a huge stinkfest going on when I open that bag up again! I have to do the program here again in a few weeks, and I’m sure I will be just as nervous doing it then, too. But now I have two dissections under my belt. And if I can handle that, I can handle anything!


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